Christmas 2017

It is December again! Hasn’t this year just gone by in a flash? I feel like I have just taken down the Christmas tree from last year and now the calendar says 1st of December!

Sorry guys, I haven’t been as active as I have wished the last few weeks, but exam time is coming up on me here in DK. The term paper was passed just last week, and the defence of the exam paper coming up on Wednesday!!! Yeah, I am scared out of my head as it is the first time we are to receive grades!

And since it is Christmas, or well the countdown for Christmas has started, it is also important to know what I am reading, well I am back with an old friend – namely Jane Odiwe’s “Mr Darcy’s Christmas Calendar” – a chapter a day, so it will last the whole of the month. I am looking forward to returning to it and enjoying a good old-fashioned Christmas Calendar like I remember from my childhood. I am always in agony over whether Lizzy will meet Mr Darcy in the end, or will have her own happily ever after! Yeah, I know, I am a sucker for romance! *sigh*

It is also that time of year, where most of us, watch Hallmarks Christmas movies, Love Actually for the Brits among my readers *winks* Am I right? Or maybe the new Christmas movie on Netflix, “A Christmas Prince” or my personal favourite “Beauty and the Beast – The Enchanted Christmas” which always puts me in the Christmas mood.
And the very serious questions; Will it snow this year? Or will it once again disappoint and just be grey and rainy? Though a tradition I am kind of starting or have had for a few years now is attending the ballet, during December and see the classic Christmas tale of “The Nutcracker” It is one of my favourite stories connecting to Christmas, besides “A Christmas Carol” – I am sure everyone is familiar with the tale? “Marley was dead, to begin with, the beginning. There was no doubt about it…” and we all know how it ends, “God bless all of us”
Do any of us have any traditions during December, besides make delicious cookies, sing carols, hope for snow and celebrate Christmas on the 25th of December?
Here in Denmark, we celebrate Christmas on the 24th of December, why … I actually never knew why we are different from the rest of the world in that particular field. But in my family, we wake up on the morning of the 24th, make a delicious breakfast and then eat and unwrap a few gifts in course of the morning, before my mom and I normally attend the Christmas service – and then we come home since we are hosting my grandfather this year. My mother and I normally watch the annually shown Disney Christmas Show, which we have done since I was a small child.

But what a year it has been, all my adventures with my friends, a new start at my university and my travels to Bath, Edinburgh, Berlin… And not to mention that plans are in progress about March, for yet another Regency adventure to old Scotland. Will I see you there?

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Mistaken by Jessie Lewis

Mistaken

Welcome Back, dear readers! This time I am hosting Jessie Lewis and her novel, “Mistaken” and without further ado, I give you;

Mistaken By Jessie Lewis

Blurb:

Fitzwilliam Darcy is a single man in possession of a good fortune, a broken heart, and tattered pride. Elizabeth Bennet is a young lady in possession of a superior wit, flawed judgement, and a growing list of unwanted suitors. With a tempestuous acquaintance, the merciless censure of each other’s character, and the unenviable distinction of a failed proposal behind them, they have parted ways on seemingly irreparable terms. Despairing of a felicitous resolution for themselves, they both attend with great energy to rekindling the courtship between Darcy’s friend Mr Bingley and Elizabeth’s sister Jane.

Regrettably, people are predisposed to mistake one another, and rarely can two be so conveniently manoeuvred into love without some manner of misunderstanding arising. Jane, crossed in love once already, is wary of Bingley’s renewed attentions. Mistaking her guardedness for indifference, Bingley is drawn to Elizabeth’s livelier company; rapidly, the defects in their own characters become the least of the impediments to Darcy and Elizabeth’s happiness.

Debut author Jessie Lewis’s “Mistaken” invites us to laugh along with Elizabeth Bennet at the follies, nonsense, whims, and inconsistencies of characters both familiar and new in this witty and romantic take on Jane Austen’s beloved Pride and Prejudice.

Review by Sophia Thorsen;

To be honest, this book was damn annoying, for several reasons! One, the readers are continuously thrown around between Darcy, Elizabeth, Bingley, Jane and others – where we get the story from all of their point of views. From Darcy and Elizabeth, it’s as always obvious that they are deeply in love, and love to tease each other! And definitely don’t want to lose each other again, after Elizabeth’s confrontation with blasted Wickham! *eye roll* that man never changes! But then we see it from the other character’s views and you are completely bewildered about what they see, and what you have just read from Elizabeth and Darcy and how the other characters can be so very mistaken – oh yes take heed of that word, dear readers! We also have several men who are interested in Elizabeth, a very drunken song about the Bennet girls, which makes our naive and sweet Bingley decide against Jane, and instead, focus on … guess who, oh yeah guys, Elizabeth!  

Mistaken is a word best used all through the book, from Bingley’s note to Darcy, to Bingley’s intentions towards Jane, Lady Catherine’s nastiness, all cases of “Mistaken”.

On another note, I definitely wanted to kick someone’s a** several times through the book, and it’s none other than a certain Lady Catherine – she’s not only annoying but downright nasty this time around – but then again, when is she not?

The Mistaken notions lead so far, as to turn sweet Jane Bennet into the worst sort of jealous bi*** I have ever experienced before, in a variation. She maligns Lizzy’s name not only in Derbyshire but also in London, side by side with Lady Ashby aka the future Countess Matlock – and therefore Darcy’s cousin’s wife. But it was rather refreshing to see another side to sweet and meek Jane Bingley nee Bennet – that she is actually capable of ruining her close relationship with her beloved sister, all because of mistaken notions and feelings of not being good enough, or as good as Lizzy. Real sibling rivalry, maybe taken a bit too far but otherwise a fresh picture of Jane.  

We also have the mistaken notion of feeling like being led by the nose around the scene, for the longest time, until things begin to clear, to leave a very unsettled picture. A Bingley who wants to leave for Canada, a pissed off Darcy, and a Jane who FINALLY realizes what she has done! Elizabeth is witty, clever and teasing throughout the book, loves with her whole heart which belongs utterly to Darcy – *sigh* so sweet! Love a good romance between Darcy and Elizabeth!  

Jane is not exactly the sweet Jane Bennet, readers are normally used to, but she does turn a leaf at the right time, and the right place, in the book, which delighted this reader beyond measure! We also see Elizabeth as the sister who NEVER losses hope for reconciliation with Jane, and her wish is answered…  *sheepish smiles*  

But the book is also, really humorous, especially a new character Jessie Lewis introduces us to, Mrs Sinclair, Colonel Fitzwilliam’s grandmother, oh she is to die for! She is forthright, says precisely what she means and is downright brilliant! I loved her! Her best comment though was on one of the last pages, “Oh, you have not killed him then? How disappointing. Young men nowadays never seem to want to do anything properly.” I was nearly falling on my face, from laughing that much from that comment alone! Even if the scene was deeply serious! I hope someone doesn’t think I am completely without proper feelings but it was so hilarious!

The book was very well written, a good plot if a little confusing at certain points, it touches on the best parts of Elizabeth Bennet’s personality; witty, clever and teasing I would say, and deeply annoying also, sorry Jessie! But personally, I prefer a plot where we only see the story from two sides, instead of four or more POV’s, as it can get hard to follow the story. But a big round of applause to Jessie for her new book! Congratulations on your first Pride and Prejudice variation! I hope to see another sooner or later!    

Author Bio:

I’ve always loved words—reading them, writing them, and as my friends and family will wearily attest, speaking them. I dabbled in poetry during my angst-ridden teenage years, but it wasn’t until college that I truly came to comprehend the potency of the English language.

That appreciation materialised into something more tangible one dark wintry evening whilst I was making a papier-mâché Octonauts Gup-A (Google it—you’ll be impressed) for my son and watching a rerun of Pride and Prejudice on TV. Fired up by the remembrance of Austen’s genius with words, I dug out my copy of the novel and in short order had been inspired to set my mind to writing in earnest. I began work on a Regency romance based on Austen’s timeless classic, and my debut novel Mistaken is the result.

The Regency period continues to fascinate me, and I spend a good deal of my time cavorting about there in my daydreams, imagining all manner of misadventures. The rest of the time I can be found at home in Hertfordshire, where I live with my husband, two children, and an out-of-tune piano. You can check out my musings on the absurdities of language and life on my blog, Life in Words, or you can drop me a line on Twitter, @JessieWriter or on my Facebook page, Jessie Lewis Author, or on Goodreads, Jessie Lewis.

Buy Links:

Mistaken   (Amazon US)

Mistaken   (Amazon UK)

Mistaken is also available on Kindle Unlimited

Annnnnnnnnd now the giveaway! You know the drill, guys! Read the terms and good luck for winning one copy of this book!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0ca86b9b18/?

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of Mistaken by Jessie Lewis. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

 

And that dear readers are what we authors call FIN. See you soon again! *winks*

Lizzy Meets the Countess

Hello, Dear Readers! Yeah, I know, I have been here quite a lot these last months, but I have read quite a LOT lately! And one of these books, are Don Jacobson’s continuation of his Bennet Wardrobe series, called “Lizzy Meets the Countess” Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess My good friend, Don Jacobson is BACK! With a novella to his successful series of The Bennet Wardrobe.

The universe was shaken once again on Midsummer’s Day in 1801. The Bennet Wardrobe’s door to the future was opened in the bookroom at Longbourn. This time it was the Wittiest of the Bennet’s, 10-year old Lizzy. And voila, a thousand bees buzzed and the pressure built…

And if you are thinking along the same lines as I, I’m pretty sure you are thinking “OH SHIT!”

But Which/Where/When was Lizzy’s destination? What needs could a young girl, only beginning to learn to make her way in the Regency, have that could be answered only by the Wardrobe? Were the requirements of another Bennet, one who began as younger, but had aged into a beautiful, confident leader of Society, be the prime movers behind Lizzy’s journey? Is the enigmatic Lady Kate the force that shaped the destiny of Lizzy and her younger sisters left back in Hertfordshire? How do the visions of the future brought home by young Lizzy help shape her world?

I was very pleasantly surprised that Lizzy appears in Fitzwilliam House, in Edwardian London later, where Henry Fitzwilliam and his Countess are at their Beach House in Deauville and we are introduced to old friends from “The Exile”. Lizzy is put into the details of the time, and what year it is – and acts way beyond her age, which yet again shows what an extraordinary author Don truly is.

Soon we see Fitzwilliam, Robard children and Elizabeth run around the beach in Deauville, while they are watched by a sad Catherine Fitzwilliam, oh yes, that is indeed Kitty, a grown-up Kitty with two children of her own and surrounded by family and friends alike, though separated from her blood family with more than a century. Elizabeth shows an uncanny perception, of where she is, from the very start, like she knows where Longbourn is and always was – and how to get home too, just by that simple thing of following her nose. We are introduced to Deauville House, the house we know from “the Exile” and “the Keeper” as the summer home of Georgiana Darcy’s when she wasn’t busy with her concert schedule. Though Lizzy shows a mind which more belongs to a twenty-something old than a ten-year-old, Kitty is acutely aware that her elder sister cannot stay in her “present” but has to return to her own “present/here/now” to be able to meet her destiny.

Which ends the first part of Lizzy’s adventure… and the novella sadly enough!

Though now the cover, you may wonder about a bit, Don explained about his amazing cover, that he and Janet Taylor, worked closely on;

“For Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess, the strong visual was already in hand—or so it seemed. I had originally been composing a story called The Darcys Meet Frankenstein.  As such, I had already begun focusing on the Villa Diodati where Byron, Godwin, and Shelley had gathered during the summer of 1816. Because Mary Shelley’s immortal Frankenstein began its life as a short story composed at Diodati, the novel has been illustrated countless times. Early on William Purser made an engraving for a fronts piece of an edition. Later Edward Francis Finden made a colourized version of the original print.
The dramatic nighttime vision fired our collective imagination. But, would it actually fit a novella whose focus, while still keeping elements of the mature Elizabeth’s encounters with Mary Godwin, had been shifted to explore the youthful Lizzy’s interaction with the Wardrobe?
We decided that, while one could read the novella as two separate stories, both tales were so interlocked that to consider the Lizzy portion without the Elizabeth segment and vice versa would strip the deeper meaning from both. The visions besetting the adult find their roots in the child—or so Dr. Freud would assert.”

The next part of this amazing, but all too short novella, we all blame you, Don *smiles sheepishly and giggles slightly* takes place in the weird and sad summer of 1816, where the Darcy’s has just lost a baby and are on their much-delayed wedding tour. 1816 was known as The Year without Summer at Lake Geneva, but we find Lord Byron, Shelley, and Godwin all thrown together with the Darcy’s in a villa by the lake.

And if you, dear reader, know just a bit of literature, you’ll recognise those names instantly as famous and well-known literary names in the 19th century, and even today as well, especially Godwin with her immortal “Frankenstein” which she started to pen that very summer. And if Don is to be believed, it was because of Elizabeth Darcy’s depression because of her miscarriage, and her dreams, where the past might actually have shown itself in the form of a red hat with a giant red rose on top.

Mary Godwin shows herself to be a kind and compassionate woman and friend to Elizabeth, and to Darcy also. Darcy goes so far as to call her “the other Mary” since we know that Elizabeth’s younger sister is also called Mary. Lord Byron is shown to be, sorry for being nasty, but a rake and an asshole to use a modern word to characterise him, while Shelley also is shown as a compassionate man, and ultimately ends up married to Mary Godwin.

Don was insisting on the point of explaining the Wardrobe and it’s basics so read along, and see if you understood the mechanics of the wonders of the Bennet Wardrobe;

“The Bennet Wardrobe was created by the master cabinetmaker Grinling Gibbons in the early 1690s for the first Bennet to own Longbourn Estate in Meryton, Mr Christopher Bennet. The Wardrobe is capable of transporting the user to any time in the future where the Wardrobe itself exists. Then the user can return to the exact same moment in the present. However, the portal in time is only open to those who are of the direct blood lineage of Christopher Bennet. Which does, of course, open up a world of possibilities.

 After finishing the first half of The Exile, I was looking ahead to Part 2 of the book (essentially 1932-1944). But, something was nagging at me: the uncharted time sequence between 1892 when Part 1 ended and 1915 when Henry Fitzwilliam’s War had been set to explore the young Viscount’s behaviour toward Kitty Bennet after she arrived through the Wardrobe in 1886.

A “breadcrumb” providentially rose to the surface. I discovered it in a transitional chapter (written in early 2016) in “The Keeper” (Ch. XLII) where Mary is contemplating a letter she received from Lizzy who was travelling in Europe with Darcy. In it, Elizabeth relates a tale about the time they had been spending with another party of British travellers at the Villa Diodati in Switzerland…Lord Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Mary Godwin. And I asked myself, “What would have inspired Mary Godwin’s story Frankenstein: The New Prometheus if it had been written in the Bennet Wardrobe universe during the summer of 1816?”

In our world, her reading of Erasmus Darwin’s Zoönomia (1796) stimulated her creative process. Her own miscarriages and lost babes set the context!

But in the Wardrobe universe, the Darcys were in attendance at the Villa Diodati on Lake Geneva that summer of 1816. Might not their attendance at Frankenstein’s birth imply that there had been some influence at the conception? Godwin’s story envisioned the future but did so by placing the gothic tale using the tools of her modern world—the Industrial Revolution—familiar to her listeners and readers.

Who within Godwin’s vicinity had the ability to suggest that or an even deeper future? Only Elizabeth Darcy. But, her trip through the Wardrobe could not have been recent, for what account would Godwin have written if a mature Elizabeth had related a history of a trip to the future as a mature woman? Likely Jules Verne’s The Time Machine.

Fresh memories are too crisp to smudge into gothic horror.

However, the foggy recollections of an adult relating Dreamtime images from her childhood, those fantasies that rise up at the edges of sleep, would provide ample fodder for a novelist.

And that is the root of Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess…a journey to the future taken by ten-year-old Lizzy. There, in 1907, in the company of characters familiar from The Exile, the young girl sees wonderful realities which will become remarkably telling dreams fifteen years later on the shores of Lake Geneva.”

That, dear readers, is the story you will learn in Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess…how Elizabeth Darcy came to dream of an Edwardian future.

Don was so very nice as to allow us a glimpse of “Lizzy Meets the Countess”, if you want to read it. This is the excerpt from Lizzy Bennet Meets the Countess is © 2017 by Donald P. Jacobson

Chapter XVII

After several minutes, Elizabeth broke the silence. She began to speak after leaning forward to stare down at the ground between her feet. She clasped her hands together and rested her forearms on her thighs. Her deep brown eyes were focused upon the ground about ten feet in front of the bench.

“Mary, there is something about the party gathered here that is disquieting.

“T’is neither you nor Mr. Shelley. Truly, if my husband and I had encountered only you two in Lyon, we would have gladly accepted your invitation to attend you here.

“But rather than being exiled to a chilled stone bench aside the lake, we would now be sharing a pleasant afternoon indoors. You and I would be facing off across the chessboard while the two men debated the relative merits of a Cambridge or Oxford education. Darcy finds unassuming and bright men like your Shelley and the Lake Country’s Mr. Wordsworth much to his liking. I could not be happier to know both of you.”

Turning to look up and gaze directly into her friend’s eyes, curiously neither brown nor blue, Lizzy continued firmly, “Lest you think that the irregular nature of your relationship with Shelley could be a barrier to our further society once we four return home, please know that, like my sister Mrs. Benton, I would swiftly remind you of my Lord’s injunction:

“He that is without sin among you, let him cast the first stone…[i]

“For truly, my dear friend, if you shook the Bennet/Darcy family tree hard enough, a curious number of scandals and disreputable individuals would tumble to the ground. I anticipate the day you meet my youngest sister, the Widow Wickham, although her present is in stark contrast to her past.”

Again she paused and turned her eyes back to the lake’s pitching surface.

With a frown creasing her forehead, Elizabeth continued, “It is the nature of Mr. Gordon, Lord Byron, that unsettles me. He disturbs my spirit to the point of disrupting my sleep, what sleep I have been able to enjoy with the bellowing of the wind and the nature of my dreams.”

As Lizzy gathered herself, Godwin could see how much the putative leader of their expedition troubled her.

“I can accept that Miss Clairmont has fallen under his sway. She is seeing at the world through the rainbows of lust-driven love. I do know that look having seen it painted all over many a young woman’s face. I do hope that she will not learn, much as Lady Caroline did, that Byron cares for none but him.

“However the way in which Doctor Polidori fawns all over Byron and lives to please only him recalls to me another of my relatives whose name I will never again speak. My stomach curdles to the point of pain as I watch the Limping Devil[ii] manipulate that boy.”

Elizabeth paused and began to breathe quickly. Mary reached over and rubbed her back. Lizzy’s eyes once again shifted, this time seeking an invisible something on the far shore, just barely a greyish smudge appearing through scudding clouds of spray. General Fitzwilliam could have named her unfocused contemplation, something he had seen on a dozen battlefields: the thousand-yard stare.

Then the older woman continued her soliloquy in a softer voice, one that Godwin strained to hear over the whistling of the wind through the branches of the sheltering trees.

“My dreams have begun again after five years of peace. I remember them from that awful time after the summer of ‘11. Some are longer; some are shorter. They are all fraught with meanings that have much to do with my present, but also hearken to that which is mystifying.

“The reveries are different than before. Now, I am standing on the deck of the oddest ship I have ever seen. There are no sails, just giant stacks, like you see above Mr. Owens’ factories in New Lanark or the great textile mills of Scarborough, belching smoke and soot. I am crossing the sea and the ship is moving fast, but the scenery never changes. There is nothing around me but water.

“Suddenly the ship is surrounded by the most incredible leaping fish. On the back of each is a merman or mermaid, all laughing and singing in celebration. In the midst of this group is one great blue whale. As that giant beast swims sedately and closely to my vessel, the choir stops. Resting on the cetacean’s back is a cradle attended by a mer-lady with grey-blue eyes and corn silk blonde hair streaming unbound down her naked back. She is wearing a countess’ tiara. In the basket rests the sweetest little babe with eyes that reminded me of my Papa. The child smiles at me. The lady lovingly rests a hand on the child’s head.

“Behind me I hear a voice. I turn and apprehend a knight, a young giant with blonde hair that is almost white flowing down from beneath his steely helm. He towers above me. His eyes glow through the slits like the brightest candles, burning clean and bright. He opens his mouth and a giant horn sounds, like the trump at The End of Days. The fingertips of his steel gauntlets crackle with electricity like Mr. Franklin’s kite wire! He claps his metal gloves together and lightening explodes all around us…so bright that my eyes are dazzled.

“When I can see again, I am not on the ship any longer, but rather aboard a strange carriage…odd because we are moving through the streets, but there are no horses. The giant sits separated with his back is to me. A lady of regal bearing sits by my side. She smiles at me. Her red hair and green eyes are so comforting.

“She speaks to me saying, ‘Lizzy, I am Gaia. As the Goddess of this world, I am Mother to all. Have no fear. You and your babe are safe in my love. Trust in the love of your family.’  Then Madame Gaia looks out the carriage’s side window at thousands of flowers drifting across the sky. Her arm reaches out through the glass and she gently swishes her hand mixing the colors of the roses—yes they are roses—yellow, white, red and blush!

“I gaze out into the world full of those roses, and I am flying high above the countryside which is scribed with bands of iron over which a huge monster, also chuffing steam like Mr. Watt’s great engines, drags another carriage. It flies on into the dimming light until it vanishes into the ocean.

“All is dark until a pinprick of light races toward me. There in the center of it is a red hat with a giant red rose. The hat is beautiful, and I reach out to hold it. But, a pair of disembodied grey-blue eyes with a strange cast to them rises above the chapeau. They are the same as the mer-lady’s. They blink, slowly, clearly saying This is not for you.

“Then my ears are filled with the sounds of a thousand bees buzzing. And I feel like I am being squeezed until I am going to pop. At that moment, I always awaken.”

With that last revelation, Elizabeth subsided, seeming to shrink inside of her woolens. Mary looked up to see Mrs. Darcy’s lady’s maid, Sloane, hurrying across the lawn to help her mistress having observed her slumping against Miss Godwin.

Elizabeth cried off dinner that evening pleading a headache. Mr. Darcy came down to give brief regrets to the others. He then repaired back to their chamber to share his wife’s simple meal of a rich chicken soup filled with thick spätzle and fresh vegetables with clumps of yellow schmaltz bobbing atop the shimmering surface.

The absence of the Darcys threw Byron into a funk for his usual reasons: he measured his success by the size of the crowd he could enthrall.

After the meal, he commanded the parlor while standing alone next to the crackling blaze which pushed the unseasonal chill back into the corners of the room. He looked across the room at Godwin and Shelley in their regular pas de deux. Polidori hovered near his master just off the marble mantle, and Claire was playing something new from Herr Beethoven on the pianoforte. How pedestrian they had become, acting out the script of propriety and “gentle” behavior.

This would never do…not for the infamous Lord Byron…let alone Percy Bysshe Shelley and his paramour! And so he pondered. Until…

An idea struck him…something truly original and frighteningly brilliant!

He called out to the lovers, “I say, Shelley…Miss Godwin…that ghost story you read to us yesterday after dinner, what was it?  Oh yes, The History of the Inconstant Lover. Do you not agree that we could write something better?

“What say you? Polidori, do you think you could somehow forget your puerile attempt at a stage play with which you bedeviled us last year? Shelley? Miss Godwin? Pr’aps you could put something together. Then we could make a night of it. A bit like old Boccaccio and his Decameron.

“It would give us all something to do in the face of this infernal weather.”

All agreed, some more readily than others, and then the party moved on to other, more suitable fodder for conversation for the rest of the evening.

 

[i] The Bible, King James Version, The Gospel According to St. John, Ch. 8:7.

[ii] Byron’s nickname so applied because of a clubfoot. http://www.facts-about.org.uk/famous-people-facts-starting-with-l/lord-byron.htm accessed 9/10/17.

And before any of you, dear readers, freak out over the shortness of this novella, just as I did, I can assure you that another is in the progress! Don is already writing it, as we speak! And it is destined for publication in DECEMBER! This December 2017, dear readers! So you won’t have to do without your Bennet Wardrobe story for long, yay! Cheers for Don, right guys?

Fin, see you when I see you dear readers *winks*

 

Book Tour of “These Dreams” by Nicole Clarkston

“These Dreams” is a haunting, soul wrenching and heartwarming dream of a book, which gives the reader the idea that two souls are bound in more ways than one.” – Sophia Thorsen

TD Horiz Blog Tour BannerM

Book Blurb:

An abandoned bride

A missing man

And a dream that refuses to die…

Pride and patriotism lend fervor to greed and cruelty and Fitzwilliam Darcy is caught at the centre of a decades-old international feud. Taken far from England, presumed dead by his family, and lost to all he holds dear, only one name remains as his beacon in the darkness: Elizabeth.

Georgiana Darcy is now the reluctant, heartbroken heiress to Pemberley, and Colonel Fitzwilliam her bewildered guardian. Vulnerable and unprepared, Georgiana desperately longs for a friend, while Fitzwilliam seeks to protect her from his own family. As the conspiracy around Darcy’s death widens and questions mount, Colonel Fitzwilliam must confront his own past. 

An impossible dream, long ago sacrificed for duty, may become his only hope.

Newly married Lydia Wickham returns to Longbourn – alone and under mysterious circumstances. Elizabeth Bennet watches one sister suffer and another find joy, while she lives her own days in empty regrets over what might have been. Believing Darcy lost forever; she closes her heart against both pain and happiness, but finds no escape from her dreams of him.

Nicole had this to say of her new book;

This scene is the first in the book where Elizabeth “sees” Darcy. Her longing for him is so intense, and her guilt over what she perceives as her role in his “death” is so overpowering, that one small triggered memory explodes upon her senses. She has already shared some empathic bond, which she cannot understand, but in this scene we see her transported, for just a moment, to a real conversation with him. The moment leaves her reeling and discomposed, as well as even more heartbroken for the many ways she had misunderstood him. As a writer, I have already planned out how the story will unfold. As a consequence, I am often less affected by the emotion of a scene than a reader experiencing it for the first time. I do find, however, that for some of these intense scenes of grief and heartbreak that I had to almost method act my way through them. If I wasn’t grieving myself, my writing lost its authenticity. There were several days when I had to stop writing scenes like this because I was just in too good of a mood. I had to feel Elizabeth’s devastation and guilt, and I had to experience Darcy’s hopelessness and solitude, in order to capture those feelings with any semblance of fidelity to the characters.

You may also notice that this scene bears a strong resemblance to Janet Taylor’s gorgeous cover. She found that cover before I even had the scene written, although I had it planned in my mind. It absolutely gave me shivers to see it! There are two more “tree” scenes later in the book, and they, too, were already planned when she found this. I can only call it serendipity! I hope you enjoy this excerpt. ~NC

Nicole was nice enough to let us see a scene from the book; I will warn you, you’ll need a handkerchief and maybe a cup of tea AFTERWARDS! Because if you drink while reading this scene, you’ll regret it… I did *smiles sheepishly*

December, 1813

Longbourn                                                                       

November passed, and with it the still, pleasant days of the long autumn. Deep winter dawned one morning with a vengeance, just as the residents of Longbourn fell under the pall of Lydia’s new circumstances. Elizabeth had not, after all, gone to London, for she felt her presence more sorely wanted now than ever by her youngest sister. She was the only remaining Bennet sister who felt thus, for Kitty and Mary had distanced themselves even farther from their wayward younger sibling—Mary, out of perceived righteousness, and Kitty, out of boredom.

Mrs Bennet’s nerves distressed her greatly during this time, for she worried now whether Lydia ought to risk the expected journey to Newcastle and her husband’s regiment. It was not to be attempted by coach, surely, but she felt it irregular in the extreme that Lydia should birth her child in the home of her girlhood before Mr Wickham had sent for her. “How everyone will talk!” she was often heard to lament. “Why, they will carry on as if you had no husband at all! Mrs Long will gossip so, and those Lucases cannot remain silent either. Lydia, my love, do take care not to leave your ring in your jewelry box when we have callers, and do not let it turn over so that the diamond cannot be seen! Such a fine ring it is. Surely no penniless soldier could have purchased it. They must see that!”

Mr Bennet, when he was present for these expressions of motherly concern, was known simply to roll his eyes and raise his paper yet higher. Within a few more sentences from his wife, he would invariably snort his derision and stalk to the privacy of his library—often not sparing a word even for Elizabeth as he passed.

For her part, Elizabeth was desperate to divert her sister. Lydia’s secret was no longer a private matter, but Elizabeth remained unconvinced that the girl would not still attempt to do herself harm. Lydia spoke the proper words of humility and resignation, but that rebellious streak that had previously caused her such great trouble was still very much a part of her character. It was evident in her eyes—a certain hardness that would not yet surrender. Whether she meant to work it for her own restoration or instead, it would prove her undoing remained uncertain.

As a consequence, Elizabeth seldom left Lydia’s side. She exerted all her considerable charm and wit to draw out the girl from her self-imposed solitude, and many an afternoon found them engaged in needlework or, more commonly, discordant duets at the pianoforte. These did little to improve Lydia’s skill, but much to lighten her moods.

A month’s time saw a minuscule improvement in Lydia’s spirits, but by mid-December, Elizabeth’s reserves of fortitude had paid a harsh toll. Her only escapes were those afternoons when she could consign the guardianship of her sister to Mrs Hill—for, as Mrs Bennet counseled, Lydia must be properly trained to manage her husband’s household when he sent for her, and surely an officer as distinguished as Mr Wickham would require a wife of the utmost sophistication and capability.

It was on these days when Elizabeth began walking regularly to Netherfield, bundled against the wind and rain. It was a restorative balm to her soul, sitting quietly for a time with Jane and even the kind Mr Bingley. Still, no matter the insistence of the application by her host and hostess, she could never be persuaded to take a room for the night. She often, however, availed herself of Jane’s new carriage when the weather had grown unpromising for a return walk.

This crisp afternoon held no rain, so Elizabeth bade her sister an affectionate farewell at the door. She deliberately did not see the worried looks exchanged by husband and wife as she turned down the steps, nor could she have known that, at a nod from Jane, Mr Bingley would summon one of his stable hands to unobtrusively follow her home to ensure her safety. She desired the solitude and the freedom of setting her own meandering pace, not intending to arrive again at Longbourn until nearly dusk.

She set out along an indirect way, one she had admired the previous year during her short residence at the house. It began near the manicured hedges and soon narrowed to a half-groomed path among the trees, leading down to a long grassy bank along the stream. The trail followed the water some way before turning back through an orchard, and finally, to the fields that bordered Longbourn. It was an isolated route, resplendent with the silver of impending frost and shrouded in a bower of blessed silence.

Elizabeth stopped as she neared the stream. This was her favourite scene along the route, where the shallows bubbled and coursed over the rocks and an old willow spread her bare branches over a little log bridge across the waters… and it was where she had once interrupted Mr Darcy’s silent reverie.

He had been leaning against that very tree, his tall frame only slightly off-balance as he stretched a long arm through the hanging branches to the trunk. His head had been bowed, seemingly lost in some private thought, until he heard her approach.

“Miss Bennet!” had cried he. He had then clamped his lips, as though fearful to speak another word.

Elizabeth had braced her shoulders then responded with a measured, “Mr Darcy,” followed by a short curtsey.

He had dropped his hand from the tree, casting about for some polite subject. “It is a fine day for walking,” he had offered—had there been some little eagerness in his tone?

“It is indeed, sir. This path is a favourite of mine. I beg you would excuse me for disturbing your solitude.” She had shifted her weight, preparing to walk on.

“It is no disturbance, Miss Bennet,” he had replied quickly. “I was about to return to the house.” His eyes had brightened, and she distinctly remembered a nervous swallow. Had he been about to offer to escort her?

“I am gratified to know that I do not trouble you, sir,” she had smiled archly. “I have only begun my constitutional, and so I shall bid you a good afternoon.”

“Do you ever ride, Miss Bennet?” he had interjected just as she was turning away.

Elizabeth had paused to study him curiously. Why should he have cared whether she ever rode? “I am perfectly capable of riding, sir, but I do not find it a terribly relaxing means of exercise.”

“No, but it need not always be relaxing. Rather, I should have thought one such as yourself might find it exhilarating. Have you never tried a fence?” His eyes had swept—very lightly—over her figure then, as though mentally evaluating her athletic prowess and suiting her with an appropriate mount and sidesaddle.

“No, sir. Horses tend to have a will of their own. As my own mind is quite determined to have its way, I do not like to think of matching my strength against that of a creature ten times my size.”

He had smiled then, and it had been the first time she had observed the small dimple in his cheek. Oh, that smile she remembered so well! The rare one, reserved only for quiet moments when… when he saw an opportunity to match wits. “It is not the power of the body, but the strength of the mind that determines a rider’s success. I believe yours to be one of remarkable tenacity, and I hope you will forgive the assumption that you enjoyed equestrian pursuits. Have you had some frightening experience?”

“I have been frustrated, and on more than one occasion. My own feet do not disobey me so readily as my father’s old hunter.”

Some spark had come to his eye then, and though his features had not moved, there had been a distinct light of humour to his countenance. Had he been mocking her, or… or flirting? “I trust, Miss Bennet, that should you ever undertake the enterprise with the whole force of your natural will, you shall meet with success.”

Elizabeth had felt a scowl spreading from her lips. “That is hardly a gentlemanly speech, sir. I cannot know whether you mean to compliment me, or call me willful.”

He had appeared shocked, either at her saucy retort or at the audacity of his own words. “I meant no offence, Miss Bennet. It was only an observation borne out by what I know of your character. You do not shrink from a challenge, and horsemanship can prove a valuable skill for a young lady. It seems likely that one day you will assume the weight of duties that will nearly demand such an accomplishment of you.” Had he been implying that she would one day be mistress of a larger estate than Longbourn?

“I thank you for your concern, sir. Should I ever find myself in need of an instructor to improve my riding, I shall not hesitate to seek your advice. For today, I prefer two feet to four.” She had glanced pointedly at Mr Darcy’s own feet then, just as he shifted one of them in her direction. Oh, mercy, he had been about to walk on with her! How could she have been so indifferent to his intentions?

He had stiffened noticeably. “Until dinner then, Miss Bennet. I wish you a pleasant outing.”

Elizabeth now braced against that very tree, gasping in horror. How sternly she had rebuffed his first overtures of friendship! Many other occasions of their early acquaintance had played again and again through her mind, but that first private talk had been nearly forgotten. How could she have missed his good opinion, shining in every uncomfortable syllable and pouring from his hesitant expression? Oh, dear heavens, he loved me even then!

She turned into the tree, bracing her arm against the cold bark and burrowing under it. Disgust with herself coupled with redoubled sorrow that she had deliberately misunderstood his meanings at nearly every encounter. Had she only been more reasonable, perhaps their brief, explosive acquaintance could have instead been one of mutual amity. Perhaps she might have perceived his unmerited passion, kept so viciously in check, and have understood the torment he sustained in determining not to offer for her. And perhaps… perhaps when he did at last succumb, she would have answered his ardent plea with gentleness, rather than indignation.

Four months they might have had together! So brief—what couple can truly form into one spirit in such a short span? Yet what would she have given to know him only a little better! To feel his lips brush her hair, just once—to hear him murmur lovingly, “My dearest, loveliest Elizabeth.”

A moan escaped her, a nearly inhuman cry of anguish as she crushed her face into the bark. If only she could substitute the physical pain of clasping that tree with all her strength for the wrenching suffering of her regrets! Yet it was not her own sorrow and loss that darkened her heart, but the certain knowledge that he had left this world believing she did not—never would! —care for him. The pain she had caused him could never be erased, and he had met his death never once hearing a tender word from her.

Four months she could have held him before that black day in August… But no! Had he been assured of her love, with her family in sufficient awe of his formidable approval, Lydia might never have been permitted to make that ill-fated journey! No dark errand might have then summoned him to the rotting underbelly of London, and no violent attack could have stricken him. It is all my own fault!

She beat her head mercilessly into the cold bark, almost wishing her brow would begin to bleed. Such an injury might at last bring atoning relief! Blood—Darcy’s blood—was no less on her hands than of those who raised their fists against him, and never could she be absolved. No court in the world would convict her, but what of poor Georgiana Darcy, if she knew all? Could she smile upon Elizabeth Bennet, the woman her brother had given his life to please, and hold her blameless? Certainly not! Because of her own pride and resentment, the best man in the world now lay cold in the crypt of his fathers.

She remained there, clutching the trunk of that unyielding old willow, until her fingers grew numb with the chill. Sighing deeply, she at last stepped back and looked once more on that hallowed ground where he had once stood. The grass, the leaves, even the lively brook were now muted. All was shriveled and dying in the ruthless grip of winter. Could her heart not similarly freeze? For a few months at least, could her love not slumber so she might know some measure of rest?

Oh, but even if the gift of merciful oblivion were offered her, she could never choose it. Elizabeth’s eyes scanned up the barren tree to the dwindling glow of the frost-obscured sun. To forget the pain of losing Darcy would be to grow insensible to her own conviction that there could never be another like him. Not for any inducement would she sacrifice the joy of being loved by one such as he, even for some relief from her sorrow. She would cling to that knowledge, that once she had been loved and loved in return, and it had wrought a tenderness and a beauty in her that left her forever marked by its passing. She would content herself—she must! —for the power of this love must suffice for a lifetime.

Elizabeth clutched a hand to her chest, wishing to seize that ache and to never let it go, for it was now her only token of him. I will always belong to you! She vowed silently. Never will another touch my heart, for you took it with you.

Her mouth worked frantically as she made her resolution, desperate to avoid another wild outcry of anguish into the woods. None should know of her sorrow—it was hers to bear willingly and alone. Trembling, she dashed the cold tears from her cheeks. Then she turned quietly and resumed her solitary march to Longbourn.

WARNING ⚠ As you can read dear readers, handkerchiefs are definitely going to be needed for this book!

But I will admit that the book turned out to be a favourite and a kindred spirit. And personally, I cannot wait for the next book!

Review by Sophia Thorsen;

At first I was worried about the premise of the book, but quickly it turned so very intriguing and I thought it was sooo strongly written, so very strong and heartfelt.

Personally I think you would have to be heartless if you don’t feel Elizabeth’s pain, heartache, despair, hope and love throughout the book. My heart broke to pieces more than once, during the read, and I will admit to a close call on a fainting spell at a certain point in the book! I will warn that very tender and heartbreaking scenes will appear between ch8-10!

I was extremely pleased with the way, Nicole, wrote this book and how much she allowed us to see of Colonel Fitzwilliam and Georgiana during the book, and even the Matlock’s appeared more than once. Colonel Fitzwilliam, really grew on me during this book, especially how he grew as a character, throughout the book, and with his bachelor status in danger from an old flame, will he remain a bachelor or will he allow his heart to rule him for once? Or will he let old prejudices stand in his way again?

The themes of the book goes largely on patriotism, loyalty, pride and love and something even deeper; hope and determination. Elizabeth and Darcy are bound together, through their souls in ways deeper than marriage, something that allows them both to survive and keep their love as intense as it ever could have been, had they been married.

Though I wanted to kick Lady Catherine’s ass more than once during the book, as she was an interfering b****! But the character which surprised me the most was Lydia Wickham need Bennet, she had a very strong development throughout the book, especially after her arrival to Pemberley! Though someone else surprised me by the end of the book, and for once Wickham surprised me enough to think that he MIGHT be redeemed after all. But … who knows! *shrugs*

But I promise there is a very HAPPY ending by the end of this heartfelt and heartbreaking read, dear readers!

Nicole ClarkstonAuthor Bio:

Nicole Clarkston is a book lover and a happily married mom of three. Originally from Idaho, she now lives in Oregon with her own romantic hero, several horses, and one very fat dog. She has loved crafting alternate stories and sequels since she was a child watching Disney’s Robin Hood, and she is never found sitting quietly without a book of some sort.

Nicole discovered Jane Austen rather by guilt in her early thirties―how does any book worm really live that long without a little P&P? She has never looked back. A year or so later, during a major house renovation project, she discovered Elizabeth Gaskell and fell completely in love. Her need for more time with these characters led her to simultaneously write Rumours & Recklessness, a P&P inspired novel, and No Such Thing as Luck, an N&S inspired novel. Both immediately became bestselling books. The success she had with her first attempt at writing led her to write three other novels that are her pitiful homage to two authors who have so deeply inspired her.

Nicole was recently invited to join Austenvariations.com, a group of talented authors in the Jane Austen Fiction genre. In addition to her work with the Austen Variations blog, Nicole can be reached through Facebook at http://fb.me/NicoleClarkstonAuthor, Twitter @N_Clarkston, her blog at Goodreads.com, or her personal blog and website, NicoleClarkson.com.

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Buy Links:

Amazon US

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Buy Links for Nicole’s other books:

CreateSpace:

Rumours & Recklessness

No Such Thing as Luck

Northern Rain

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner

Amazon:

The Courtship of Edward Gardiner

Northern Rain

No Such Thing as Luck

Rumours & Recklessness

Annnnnnnd now dear readers, we finally come to the Giveaway opportunity:

The giveaway will consist of 10 eBooks and is international.

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0ca86b9b14/

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of These Dreams by Nicole Clarkston. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

And that dear readers was that for now! But please leave a comment below won’t you? And go and buy the book, you WON’T regret it!

See you when I see you guys *winks*

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Jane Austen Festival 2017

Once again the trees turned yellow, and the calendar with yummy Captain Wentworth told me it was September again, and that month, many of us relate to only 1 thing: the annual Jane Austen festival in Bath, U.K. Well besides a delayed flight, I arrived in London and quickly onto a west going train towards Bath.

The sandstone houses are the first hint of Bath you see, as you turn the last corner towards Bath Spa station, coming in on the train, my stomach was making somersaults in nervousness and anticipation of once more being back in my beloved Bath.

Got off the train and met up with Elaine, we went and got redressed in our regency finery, and waited for Emma, Cati and Christin. While waiting I met up with Cassandra Grafton, at the unique and still ancient Pump Rooms. Cass was a darling and got some things for me from the Fayre, including a copy of “The Guide to Jane Austen’s England” which I presented on my blog a few months back, and the new Jane Austen 10 pound note and as a surprise Mr Darcy’s Quest bookmark!

And of course it started to rain, but soon my friends and I were all together again, and ready for fun and games! We checked out our apartment, which ended up being really nice with a big living/sleeping/kitchen room, a bedroom and a bathroom so we were installed and got food from Sainsbury’s as we were all tired and ready to drop.

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Saturday dawned and we got up and got ready for regency fun, I dressed in my chemise and white gown decorated with blue flowers, we went around town, got photographed a thousand times or so, most without as much as a by your leave. But we enjoyed ourselves, went to the talk with Professor John Mullan, who spoke of Northanger Abbey, which Cass Grafton also attended,

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Then we were off for lunch at Sally Lunn’s where we were joined by my new acquaintance Robin, and our longtime friends Sarah and David. It was a really nice lunch, especially as I had never been there before. Sally Lunn’s is also the oldest restaurant in Bath, dating from 1482 or so.

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After a walk around the town, Putney Bridge, JA centre, and the Royal Crescent we walked back to the apartment via the gravel walk where Wentworth and Anne walked together. We were though caught in a rather viscous rain shower on the way back, while my inner author sketched out a romantic scene taking place on the gravel walk between a couple of my own creation. We also walked to the Parade Gardens to view the annual Austen plant item, which this year showcased a book. I was in my red Redingote and bergere, and the weather was dry so I couldn’t have been happier.

Birthday presents were given to Cati, Emma and I were quite surprised at getting some as well, an embroidered bookmark (spelling; Gryffindor) from Elaine, a bag (a Gryffindor/Hogwarts bag) from Emma and a necklace from Edinburgh from Christin, which I had admired back in March.

Soon we were all dressed in ball clothes; chemises, dresses and hair were dressed and makeup was put on. Emma did a fantastic job of doing all of our hairs, so we looked like a million pounds each! I was in my white ball gown and new jewels from Guildhall.

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We made our way to the assembly rooms, and when we were around a few minutes from the rooms, we got caught in a heavy rainstorm. When we arrived we were wet and I was see-through. Most ladies went straight to the ladies room, to get dresses and shoes dry after the rain. After around 30 minutes, dresses and shoes were dry, drinks were bought and dancing commenced. I shared two dances with my dear sister but otherwise, I danced with old acquaintances which were so pleasurable, especially as they are always very nice and experienced. The girls and I had an amazing evening, laughed and danced – I was called Lydia since I danced every dance during the evening! Well if that is all it takes, then I’m guilty as charged!

Sunday dawned, too soon for my taste as per usual; we packed our bags and the car before we made our way to the Pump Rooms, where I had reserved a table for breakfast. After breaking our fast, of English breakfast, crossaint, pancakes and the like, and since it was the Pump Rooms, we took the waters, which tasted like hot water with a really bad aftertaste *shudders*

We went shopping for the last things, including posters, books and other knick-knacks, then back to the car with the items so we didn’t have to carry them at the promenade, and finally back to the Abbey for the mini promenade. As people appeared, photos were taken, shared and outfits admired and envied. Email addresses were exchanged so contact could remain during the coming year.

After the promenade, where the ladies came in all from riding gowns, to walking dresses to elaborate gowns, capes and muffs due to the coldness of the weather, while the gentlemen came in either their long trousers or knee breeches, shirts and their coats, walking canes and top hats. After a little talking, one million pictures, my friends and I said goodbye to people to make our way to LHR and Stanstead airports. Sad, after only 48-50 hours! But as always it was good fun and wonderful being back with those four crazy and funny friends of mine! I can’t wait for more!

Fair Stands the Wind Book Tour

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Hello Hello Dear Readers, I’m baaaaack! Summer is over, and September is onto us again! That means not only is the Jane Austen Festival in Bath starting fairly soon, but that means a return to school, university or work after the holidays. And my good friend, Janet Taylor has once again pointed me in the direction of a new author; called Catherine Lodge, who has written “Fair stands the wind” so I read it. Read on!

Fair Stands the Wind
By Catherine Lodge

Book Blurb:

We all know that in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Mr Darcy is proud and prejudiced because he is a wealthy landowner who believes himself above his company; and that Elizabeth Bennet can afford to be proud and prejudiced because she believes she has the freedom to make choices for herself. But what if Mr Darcy is the second son, sent to sea at a young age? What if Elizabeth is trapped by circumstances, with an ill father on one side and an understandably desperate mother on the other? Meet Captain Darcy of the Royal Navy, a successful frigate captain, with ample prize-money and a sister he needs to provide for while he is at sea. Meet Elizabeth Bennet, who needs a husband and is trying to resign herself to Mr Collins, the worst “least worst alternative” in the history of literature.

So Catherine was so kind as to add a taste for your enjoyment of THE FIRST Chapter! This is her first book tour, which I’m pleased to host or be part of. Enjoy!

The Assembly Rooms at Meryton were hot, crowded, and consumed with curiosity. The local oracles had prophesied the attendance of their new neighbour and, unlike the oracles of old, had gone on to estimate his fortune, his height, and his single state in uncommon, if implausible, detail. All that remained was to view the gentleman and his party, the oracles having fallen into dispute as to their number and relationship to the main attraction of the evening. The five Bennet sisters had been kept close to their mother all evening, for that worthy lady was intent upon throwing some one or other of them into the path of the newly arrived Mr Bingley as soon as possible and before Lady Lucas got to him or, worse, Mrs Goulding and her bony niece. Elizabeth Bennet did her best to stifle a sigh. Her mother’s careful arrangements—“Jane, you must sit on my right hand, Lydia, you on my left since you are the most handsome of my girls”—had left her isolated between her sister Mary and a pillar. Since the former had brought one of her interminable conduct books, she was scarcely more company than the latter. Elizabeth exchanged looks of commiseration with her best friend, Charlotte Lucas, also seated firmly beside her own mama, and did her best to possess her soul in patience.

The five Bennet sisters had been kept close to their mother all evening, for that worthy lady was intent upon throwing some one or other of them into the path of the newly arrived Mr Bingley as soon as possible and before Lady Lucas got to him or, worse, Mrs Goulding and her bony niece. Elizabeth Bennet did her best to stifle a sigh. Her mother’s careful arrangements—“Jane, you must sit on my right hand, Lydia, you on my left since you are the most handsome of my girls”—had left her isolated between her sister Mary and a pillar. Since the former had brought one of her interminable conduct books, she was scarcely more company than the latter. Elizabeth exchanged looks of commiseration with her best friend, Charlotte Lucas, also seated firmly beside her own mama, and did her best to possess her soul in patience.

On the stage, the serpent player gave a preparatory honk, and the band swept raggedly into the third set of the evening. The dancers bowed, curtsied, and began the figure, Mr Wright leading off with his left hand as usual and being put firmly back in place by his partner. Elizabeth counted the people present, counted the ladies, subtracted the one from the other to produce the number of gentlemen—which gave the number of women who would be without partners—counted the number of feathers in Lady Lucas’s headdress, divided the number of feathers by the difference between the number of ladies and the number of gentlemen, and was faintly cheered when the result turned out to be a prime number. She sighed and was just about to commence an attempt to calculate the floor space of the ballroom, based on an estimated average length and breadth of the floorboards when the main event of the evening finally occurred.

The doors opened, and the party from Netherfield swept in, led by an undeniably handsome, if somewhat overdressed, lady. The object of everyone’s curiosity was a smiling, young gentleman of perhaps four-and-twenty, regrettably shorter than the first entrant, whom he introduced as his sister. Despite that, he was by no means ill looking and appeared good-humoured, which—as Mrs Phillips remarked in a rather too penetrating whisper—was better than mere longshanks any day of the week.

This remark gained an immediate and unfortunate point when the rest of the party entered: another lady and gentleman, who ignored each other so pointedly they had to be married and a final gentleman. The latter was a very tall, dark-haired young man, somewhat older than Mr Bingley, well dressed in a dark blue coat of austere cut, who had chosen to disfigure a particularly fine countenance with a pair of green-lensed spectacles. The buzz of speculation, which had begun to die down, rose again to renewed heights, a noise that did not go unnoticed by its object who became—although it scarcely seemed possible—even more upright and impassive. Mr Bingley was making introductions, and an immediate and rather ill-bred silence fell as everyone strained to hear. “… my sister Hurst and her husband and my particular friend Captain Darcy of the Royal Navy.”

Review of “Fair stands the wind” by Sophia Thorsen,

When I first cracked the cover of “Fair Stands the Wind”, I was surprised and downright shocked at the story line I had to follow, first a more depressed Bennet household because of Mr. Bennet’s serious illness to his lungs and secondly the fact that Fitzwilliam Darcy is a Captain, a naval captain, and not the owner of Pemberley.

Yes, Captain Darcy, you did read that right guys, William is a Captain of the Navy! I think I got the shock and surprise of my life, but also made my mind wonder if the plot would lead towards a sort of Persuasion’ish plot or a Darcy-Elizabeth-hate-love relationship throughout the book. But in the ending, I had to get into the head of an Elizabeth who is ready to follow duty over her heart because of her father’s illness, but also a Darcy who is having ill effects on his eyes and get dizzy after an injury. What made my heart ache was because Darcy isn’t arrogant or proud, but sensible and still unsure of how worthy he is of affections, especially Elizabeth’s.

Another point where I was shocked beyond measure was the fact that Georgiana and a second Mrs Darcy arrived at Netherfield Park, two women who are repressed to a degree where they hardly dare to open their mouths.  But I was delighted to see, that under Darcy’s stern naval discipline Darcy still has the heart of a tender and loving brother, and a dutiful son too.

fstwfrontcover wobldThe third point was that it was an elder Darcy son who owns Pemberley, and who has let drink and whoring be the order of the day, and worse Wickham as the priest of Kympton parish, the worst case scenario to many JAFF readers, and authors. To imagine what wickedness that went on at Pemberley made my blood boil on Darcy’s behalf! And truly feel how awful it must have been for Georgiana and Mrs Darcy.

What surprised me more was the fact how quickly Elizabeth and Darcy developed tender feelings for each other, the fact was that they bonded over their worry and care of Georgiana. I must admit to celebrating rather loudly when Darcy proposed, a rather sensible proposal to Elizabeth, just before Collins has the chance after the Netherfield Ball. I applauded rather loudly at that, and what a drama that ensues after that. From sensible marriage to a deep and lasting love affair. Just as most… okay all JAFF readers prefer, myself included. Yes, I know, guilty as charged, I’m a hopeless romantic!

The whole book surprised me with its tone; it went from depressed to ecstatic at the ending, though the ending did leave me with a question… though the ending was extremely perfect.

Definitely a read I will recommend. Four hearts out of five I would personally give the book. Catherine definitely has a way to let the reader get caught in the book and make them stick until the very end. I hope to see more of Catherine’s writings in the years to come.

Aaaaaaaaand… here is the giveaway opportunity;

Terms and Conditions:

Readers may enter the drawing by tweeting once a day and daily commenting on a blog post or review that has a giveaway attached for the tour. Entrants must provide the name of the blog where they commented. Remember: Tweet and comment once daily to earn extra entries.

A winner may win ONLY 1 (ONE) eBook of Fair Stands the Wind by Catherine Lodge. Each winner will be randomly selected by Rafflecopter and the giveaway is international.

 http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/0ca86b9b12/?

Though if you are desperate to get your hands on the book ASAP, then here are the buy Links:

Fair Stands the Wind   (Amazon US paperback version) https://www.amazon.com/dp/168131018X/sr=8-1/qid=1504289942/ref=olp_product_details?_encoding=UTF8&me=&qid=1504289942&sr=8-1

Author Bio:

Catherine Lodge is a semi-retired lawyer and lecturer, living in Yorkshire–a part of the UK even more beautiful than Derbyshire. One of five daughters, although by birth order regrettably the Jane, she found 19th Century literature early in her teens and never looked back–even if that meant her school essays kept coming back with “archaic!” written in the margin next to some of her favourite words. She still thinks that “bruited” is a much nicer word than “rumoured.”

Catherine Lodge After years of drafting leases and pleadings, she finally started to write for fun in her forties and has never stopped since. Much of this will never see the light of day, having been fed to the digital equivalent of a roaring bonfire, but “Fair Stands the Wind” is the first book she thinks worthy of public attention. She spends her day fixing computer problems for friends and family, singing in her local choir, and avoiding the ironing

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Well, dear readers, that’s it for this time around! Please do leave a comment on the blog, and follow along since it will be my JA festival blog entry up next! Jep, I’m off for Bath on the 15th of September!!! A whole weekend of Regency fun, dancing and friendships!

See you when I see you guys! *winks cheekily*

A Quest for Mr. Darcy by Cassandra Grafton

Darcy returns to Derbyshire after a year away, he has put himself on a quest; to do his duty and marry to protect Pemberley and his sister’s happiness. But much have changed in the year he has been away, not only in Derbyshire but also to the Bennet’s.

Will Darcy’s path once again cross Elizabeth’s, since she suddenly is closer than ever. And with Bingley and his mischievous younger sisters – Darcy’s life is about to be turned on its head again. And will Colonel Fitzwilliam ever leave behind his supposition of staying a bachelor?

I can’t tell how often I cursed, praised, laughed and cried during this read, but I’m sure if I asked Cassandra, she would be able to tell you how often she laughed at my reactionary messages about the book.

Another amazing read, each chapter was a masterpiece in itself. The prose was brilliant, and easy to get through, I will admit to finish the book within 48 hours of receiving the book 😂 so I have read the book two or three times already. But the book was also a beast, there was twist and turns and cliff hangers enough to drive even the best of readers completely to the brink of hysteria a few times. But then again, there was plenty of romantic and sweet moments which my romantic heart loved beyond measure and made me sigh at the tenderness.

Just a few small examples will hopefully explain why the readers or at least I was loving this read but still cursed the author to the sky when she left dear Darcy and Elizabeth in a cliffhanger moment;

“Elizabeth’s silent plea to him had been his undoing. Rarely had he seen her show vulnerability, leastways, not powerless, wanting nothing else but to hold her and never let go; to gather her into his arms and carry her to wherever she might feel safe.”

“His gaze dropped to their clasped hands, neither clad in gloves. It was an intimacy rarely experienced, and Darcy could only assume it accounted for the sudden rush of colour into Elizabeth’s cheeks.”

“Dear God, Elizabeth, I thought I had lost you.” A restriction gripped his throats as he held her tightly, trying to still the frantic beating of his heart. Surely she would be able to hear it?

But of course, Cass, came through with another masterpiece which left me as an emotional wreck after finishing the book. You fly on the wings on anticipation, drop to the valley of despair and ends on the tops of the mountains of happily ever after. So I can only recommend this book Highly! But do keep a handkerchief ready when reading 📖 and a bracing cup of tea.

Thank you Cass! It was a pleasure and a privilege to read another of your lovely lovely books 📚